Shelby, Clark/Chloe futurefic
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Sequel to A Dog's Life.
It was Saturday afternoon, and The Girl and I had been relaxing together in the farmhouse-- her on the couch, me on the old threadbare rug. But the sounds The Girl had suddenly begun making were not like any sound I'd ever heard before. I got up from my comfortable spot on the rug, cocked my head, and then pattered across to her.
Hey. What's going on? You sound like I did the time I ate that whole bag of dog food.
"Ummmppphhh." Despite the horrible groans, she reached out and rumpled my ears. "Shel, I think... I think the baby's coming."
I stared at her. I understood enough of people barks to get the general gist of what she was saying, and it worried me. If you want someone to defend the house and bark at the mailman, I'm your guy. I'm good at chasing rabbits out of the garden, too. But this was not my area of expertise. The puppy? Now?
She groaned again, and I wrinkled my forehead. I know dogs can have puppies pretty easily (not that I'd know from personal experience), but humans... well, humans are something else again. I whined uneasily.
"Yeah. Now." She looked at me with intense eyes. "I called for Clark already, but I don't think he's listening. He's so stressed, and he has so much on his mind... You'd better go find him, I guess. Understand me, Shel? Find Clark."
I understood. I got to my feet, shook out my fur, and took off to find The Boy.
I found The Boy out in the back forty, fixing a fence. Apparently he was fairly absorbed in what he was doing. I knew he should have been able to hear The Girl's groans from here-- his hearing was better than mine, which is highly unusual in someone of the two-legged persuasion-- but he was humming tunelessly as he worked, and evidently hadn't thought to tune her in. Which was kind of dumb, to be honest, but from listening to him and The Girl talk, I knew he hadn't expected the puppy to arrive quite yet. Anyway, My Boy had never been the sharpest tool in the shed.
I ran up to him, sat down, and barked. I was panting pretty hard from my long run-- I was getting kind of old to run at all, let alone half a mile-- but I did my best to make my bark sound deep and serious.
"Hey there, boy." He reached down and tried to pat my head, but I ducked, and barked again, more sharply this time.
Come home, kid. The Girl needs you.
He frowned at me. "Something wrong, buddy?"
I barked again. Come on, kid. I know I'm not Lassie, but I think I'm being pretty damn clear here.
He put down the wooden board in his hands, and his eyebrows drew together. "Is it Chloe? Is she...?"
One more bark, as emphatic as I could make it. GO HOME NOW.
He stood there for another few seconds, frozen. I saw him tilt his head very slightly, and I knew he was listening to The Girl's groans of pain. He looked as terrified as I'd ever seen him.
And then suddenly he was gone.
Amazing how he did that. I'd met a lot of the two-legged persuasion in my life, and not a single one of them had been able to move like that. My Boy was unique. I knew he'd gone to the house, so trotted back in that direction, taking it easy now that I'd delivered my message. Once upon a time I could have moved pretty fast myself (if not fast enough to look like a blur), but those days were way behind me now. The run had taken a lot out of me, so I trotted... and slowed down to a walk once or twice, too.
When I went through the dog door and into the house, I heard The Boy. His voice sounded high-pitched, loud, and frantic.
"I have to get you to the hospital, Chlo. We have to get to Dr. Hamilton. I can't... I mean..."
"It's... too... late." The Girl sounded as if she were talking through a mouthful of nails. Every word was hoarse with pain. I sat down at the entrance to the room and whined in sympathy. "It's coming... right... now..."
"But the baby's early. It's too early."
"Maybe... not... I mean, it's part... Kryptonian..."
"Still, we can't take the chance, Chlo. Something might be wrong. I can pick you up, and get you right there..."
He bent to pick her up, putting his arms around her very gently, and she immediately screeched in pain. He jumped back, looking as wide-eyed and panicked as I'd ever seen him.
"I'm sorry, Chlo, I didn't mean to hurt you..." He looked around wildly. "Maybe if I call an ambulance..."
"And tell them... we're having... a half-human baby?" She groaned again, very loudly. "It's coming... oh, God..."
He stood there, looking scared to death, as if he didn't have a clue what to do. I wanted to help him, but I didn't know how. She lay there on the couch, gasping, almost sobbing. And then she opened her eyes and stared at him imploringly.
"Help me, Clark."
He swallowed, and then he lifted his chin, and the panic faded from his eyes. He knelt beside her, taking her hand.
"It's all right, sweetheart." His voice was no longer high-pitched, but calm and deep and soothing. "I'm here, Chlo. I'll help you through it. Breathe, sweetheart. Just like we practiced, okay?"
She sobbed and clung to his hand fiercely. "Help me, Clark. Please, help me."
"I will," he said softly. "Always."
The puppy had no fur.
I tilted my head on one side, considering the small morsel of humanity that was being presented to me. Of course humans are mostly lacking in all that nice fur that we canines wear with pride, but The Boy had a nice head of dark fur, and The Girl had pretty golden fur (not unlike mine) on her head.
But their puppy was... well, furless. I wondered if it had mange.
Even so, it was kind of cute. It had little tiny fists that waved around aimlessly, and a little squinched-up face. It made a funny sound that hurt my ears but made me want to protect it, all at once.
I decided I liked it. I would have licked its face, except I sensed that The Girl would have gone ballistic if I had, so I simply waved my tail in approbation.
"Good dog, Shel." The Boy was holding the puppy in one arm, but he reached out with the other hand and rubbed my head. "You know, I might not have gotten back to help Chloe in time if you hadn't come to find me. You're a good dog."
Very true, kid. Glad you appreciate how helpful I am. I accept payment in Milkbones.
"So we were thinking..." He grinned over at The Girl, who was still lying on the sofa, looking utterly exhausted. "Well, we have to name the baby after Mom. So her first name is Martha. But we thought... we thought maybe we'd call her Martha Shelby."
I thumped my tail on the floorboards. Good name. I like it.
He laughed. "Glad you approve."
I do. But... well... I looked up at the small bundle and wagged some more. I hope you don't mind... but I'm just going to call it Pup.